Originally published July 25 2013
USDA spending taxpayer money on grant to determine whether fat, sugary foods cause obesity
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) As early as 1977, the United States first developed dietary guidelines for Americans, with a specific goal of helping us avoid becoming obese.
Contained in those first recommendations, implemented 35 years ago, were these measures:
-- "Increase consumption of complex carbohydrates and 'naturally occurring sugars'; and
-- Reduce consumption of refined and processed sugars, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium."
In addition, the government guidelines advised reducing intake of "refined and processed sugars and foods high in such sugars," further recommending that, "to avoid overweight, Americans should consume only as much energy as they expended."
Subsequent government-recommended dietary guidelines, backed up by scores of studies over the years, continued to recommend diets low in processed sugars and in saturated fat as a way to combat the rising occurrence of obesity.
Don't we already know what causes obesity?
This seems like settled science to those of us here at Natural News, so we have to question why the federal government's Department of Agriculture finds it necessary to spend more taxpayer dollars on new research into whether fat, sugary foods cause obesity. And yet that's exactly what the USDA is doing. Per CNSNews.com:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding a study to determine if "preference for fat and sugar may have a role in overweight and obesity development" among African-American adolescents in Alabama. The department announced the $25,000 grant to Tuskegee University in Tuskeegee, Ala., in April.
"This project will document taste preferences for fat and sweet foods in African American adolescents and enhance the research infrastructure and capacity in obesity, food product development and sensory evaluation research at Tuskegee University," said a USDA press release, dated April 2.
"Obesity is the number one nutritional problem in America, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years," Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), said. "Our goal in funding these projects is to lower this rate in children and adolescents and put them on a healthy path for the rest of their lives."
Several questions come to mind regarding this dubious research.
Ramaswamy correctly notes that obesity is the number one nutritional problem in America, so he, too, should understand this is settled science. Is it possible that Ramaswamy just doesn't know what foods cause the obesity? That's a stretch.
Second, Ramaswamy says, again correctly, that obesity rates have tripled in America since the late 1970s. Is it possible that Ramaswamy doesn't already know why that is happening? Another stretch.
Third, if obesity is a nationwide problem, why limit the study to African-American adolescents? Are kids of other ethnic backgrounds not obese? Is he suggesting that only African-Americans have trouble with obesity, or more specifically, that African-American parents aren't feeding their kids correctly? Just what exactly is he suggesting?
Answering a well-answered question with your money
The USDA is only spending $25,000 on this study, and while that seems a pittance, the reasons for the expenditure at all are dubious and, quite frankly, wholly unnecessary, given what we already know about sugars, fats and obesity - namely that anyone who consumes too much of them and gets too little exercise is going to wind up with an obesity problem.
"It is hypothesized that a preference for fat and sweet foods would predict weight gain among African Americans," says the project description.
Really? You think? How many more taxpayer dollars need to be spent to answer an answered question?
The project description said that the main objective is to "develop a community based, nutrition education program with and specifically for rural southern African Americans to prevent weight gain and decrease cancer risks" and "to investigate relationships between dietary patterns and markers for cancer risks among these children. Participants will be invited to volunteer for the preference testing before and upon completion of the study."
Oh. Well, that's different.
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